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Vancouver/Vancouver Island/ Whistler trip

Vancouver/Vancouver Island/ Whistler trip

Old Jun 9th, 2002, 07:44 AM
  #1  
Darice
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Vancouver/Vancouver Island/ Whistler trip

My husband and I are vacationing in these three areas Aug. 3-11/02 and I have booked hotels, car rental, flight and would appreciate advice on choices and times allowed for each area. It would be easy to change hotels and number of days in each area. We are flying into Vancouver a.m. of 8/3 and will have the rest of the day to explore the city and are staying at the Marriott renaissance that night. I am a rewards member so chose that based on points and location although after reading boards think I should search out a better price than $149.00 us!!! The next day we planned to take a car ferry to Victoria and are booked for two nights at the Laurel Point Inn. I had planned to go to Butchart Gardens that day and then explore Victoria part of the next day (mon.) By the way , we like to sightsee, hike, browse shopping and eat ! I would like to work in the BC Museum that is so talked about one of those days also. We would leave Victoria on Tues. morning and head up the east coast and stop in all of the little towns and recommended places I have been reading about on our way to Port Alberni. I have booked a room at the Best Western Barclay for two nights there as a mid point to the Pacific Rim. I figured we would make a day of getting there so we could see Qualicum, Cathedral Grove, etc. Then we would leave early the next morning from Port Alberni for Tofino and spend the whole day there and go back to Port Alberni for another night. After all the posts I have read though, I am wondering if we should try to drive all the way to Tofino from Victoria since we were making a day of it anyway and stay one night there. Then we would want to drive all the way across the island after a day in the Tofino area to get to one of the towns near the Nainamo Ferry. On Aug. 8th we would take the Nainamo Ferry to West Vancouver and drive to Whistler where I have two nights booked at the Residence Inn (another Marriott) Early on Sat. Aug. 10 we would head back to Vancouver and have the rest of the day and night there. Our flight leaves Sunday morning.<BR>So: Sat.-Vancouver; Sun. and Mon. Victoria; Tues. and Wed. Port Alberni as base for Tofino and getting back to Vancouver; Thurs. and Fri. Whistler; and Sat. Vancouver. I will take all the advice I can get on time I have allowed for each place and locations I have chosen. We are interested in the whale watching and hot springs tour but want to also make sure we get to do some hiking in the old growth rainforest somewhere while we are there. We are not into strenuous hikes, more the moderately difficult level!<BR>In Whistler, we planned Gondola ride, hiking, shops, etc. Thank you very much, anyone and everyone!!!!
 
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 10:29 AM
  #2  
g mitchell
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By my count you have 7 full days, excluding half day arrival and day of departure. You are trying to pack a lot into those 7 days and will really not do justice to any of the places you visit as travel times between places, especially with taking the ferries will eat up a lot of your time.<BR><BR>Vancouver is worth way more than 2 half days ( probably 3 minimum ) By the way, before I forget, we have an international fireworks competition here every year with three countries participating and Aug 3 is one of those nights.<BR>Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver is larger than Butchart and, if you are a gardener, will find it a better garden. Butchart is lovely but more of a tourist show. Queen Elizabeth Park just east of Van Dusen also has a lovely garden. I would suggest more tim in Vancouver and do Whistler as a day trip ( easily done )<BR><BR>Both Tofino and Victoria are worth the trip and the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay ( Vancouver to Victoria )However, it will take you one full day to get to Tofino from Victoria ( about 5 hr driving ) and basically another full day to get back to the mainland. Going to Tofino just to take a look and then turn around and head back is a total waste of time--unless you just like driving --and it would not give you the oportunity to rellay experience the area and do the activities that you want. If you are determined to go to Tofino, then do it in one long day and do not stay overnight in Port Alberni.<BR>In fact, with the time you have at your disposal, I would perhaps do three of the four areas you mention, but not all four<BR>Suggestion:<BR>Aug 3,4,5 Vancouver ( with day trip to Whistler if needed )<BR>Aug 6,7 Victoria<BR>Aug 8 drive to Tofino <BR>Aug 9 Tofino <BR>Aug 10, Drive back to Vancouver via ferry from Nanaimo<BR>Aug 11 depart.<BR><BR>Personally I would cut one day out of Victoria and add a day to Tofino OR cut Tofino out all together and leave it for another trip and concentrate on Vancouver, Victoria, the east coast of the Island and Whistler.<BR><BR>As you will be on a fairly tight schedule, I would suggest reserving space on the BC ferries on both routes.<BR><BR>cheers, enjoy<BR><BR>PS: You will find most of the information you will need on Vancouver on the Vancouver Pages of my web site at www.arbutushouse.com<BR>
 
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 11:35 AM
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Robyn
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As a life-long local who has been to all areas in your plan, I totally agree with G. Mitchell for the reasons he stated.
 
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 04:44 PM
  #4  
Darice
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gmitchell and robyn: Thank you so much for your prompt reply! I am going to make all the changes you suggested to our itinerary. I was looking at some information on a hot springs tour in Tofino that takes 6 hours and I started thinking about what kind of shape we would be in when we came back from that and had to drive all the way to Port Alberni. So I was coming to the conclusion that maybe we should stay in Tofino. What is your opinion on the whale watching, hot springs excursions? Do you think that would be a good way to see some of the Pacific Rim area? It says you hike through some of the old growth rainforest to get to the hot springs too. <BR>Thanks again, it sounds like a much better plan and we can still see all of the areas we wanted originally but in a much more sensible manner.
 
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 07:23 PM
  #5  
G Mitchell
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If you leave Victoria fairly early, you can still visit some of the attractions along the way and get to Tofino late afternnon, early evening. Along the way, some suggestions are Chemainus,Duncan, Coombs ( just outside Parksville on the highway --tacky but fun )Englishman River Falls just befoe Coombs, Cathedral Grove Heritage forest ( the highway runs right through it -A MUST if you want to see big trees )<BR><BR>If you don't already have it, your bigest problem will be getting accommodation in Tofino --do it NOW<BR><BR>There are a number of tour companies out of Tofino and I think there is one that tries to combine Whale Watching with the hot springs -- better to have a local give you the correct info or see the "Great Outdoors" section of www.tofino-bc.com
 
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 10:56 AM
  #6  
Darice
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G Mitchell, Thanks again, I got right on the reservation for Tofino. I got us into the Middle Beach Lodge which looks pretty nice on the web site. Thank you, thank you. I have all reservations booked now so all that is left is the waiting!!!
 
Old Jun 13th, 2002, 04:32 PM
  #7  
April
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Do try to fit in the museum in Victoria. A visitor recently told me it was their favourite sight in Victoria. I would do that over Butchart's because, as mentioned above, you can see good gardens in Vancouver. Queen Elizabeth Park has some similarities to Butchart's, I think, and it's free.
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 02:22 PM
  #8  
Darice
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Thank you April, that was already on my list of things to do in Victoria, and I may very well skip the Butchart in lieu of some of the other gardens in Vancouver.
 
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 05:25 AM
  #9  
Clarice
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Has anyone read information on a weird fungi growing on the trees at Cathedral Grove? Apparently it is very harmful when airborne. It was written up in a BC paper recently, about 59 people are very ill. I'm not making this up. I tried to find the article again before writing this, but can't of course.<BR>I've reluctantly scratched C. Grove off my list of places to go this summer, but would like to know if this is really necessary?
 
Old Jun 21st, 2002, 10:11 PM
  #10  
ttt
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ttt
 
Old Jun 24th, 2002, 07:24 PM
  #11  
Darlene
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I think you made a great choice - skip Port Alberni completely - it would be a complete waste of time (sorry guys!!). It is a an old rundown pulp town, not interesting at all and the drive to a good spot isn't that bad (sort of like my morning cummute!!) The most difficult part of the drive is from Port Alberni to Tofino, it's had lots of curves, and hills - but this is also a beautiful, scenic drive for the most part. Be prepared for rain though - the west coast is a rainforest. It's still nice in the rain - Long Beach is amazing. There a lot of trails - just look for markings along the highway as you drive through the Povincial Park (Schooner Cove is a nice, short hilly hike down to a nice swimming beach). Also go up Radar Hill if you have clear weather - the view is spectacular - you can see the coastline for miles. Try renting a kayak in Tofino, visit Long Beach, of course. I once took a trip to Mearse Island (short boat ride), they drop you off, and you hike around the lake - a great, relatively flat trail, 1/1/2 hours, I think (you'll see adds posted around town). If you have time, visit the town of Uculet - small town, at the end of the main road is a lighthouse with a great view.<BR>If I were you, I'd leave Tofino, go straight for Vancouver in 1 day - get to town, skip Port Alberni, with a brief visit in Parksville to stretch your legs - it has a nice, long beach to walk on, (fun at low tide) dryer weather, popular with the retired folk and families but otherwise not much there .... no matter what you choose - enjoy!
 
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